Africa Opportunity, New Flies & Winter Fishing

1 Spot to Share in Africa

We have a unique opportunity for one lucky woman. A good friend of ours has reserved a spot on our east Africa safari this summer (July 27-Aug.12), and is hoping for another woman to join her to share the accommodation. This is the very last spot on this exceptional safari, timed for the Great Migration. Without a doubt, a trip of a lifetime. For prices, dates & details.

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The Family is Growing!

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We're adding 3 new colors to the Super Bugger Family. Always a popular streamer wherever trout and smallmouth are found, we're excited to add yellow, chartreuse, and white to our long time standards of olive, black and tan. In stock and ready to go! Go to store.


*A Winter Diehard Talks*

Our guest blog this week is from our friend and neighbor, Jared, one of the most serious fishermen we know. Enjoy.


Winter Fishing  'A Window of Opportunity'  By Staskiel

When Cathy Beck asked me to write about my experiences with winter fly fishing, it quickly drew a clear recollection of how I fell in love with fishing during what amounts to the years harshest conditions. I was a younger man at the time, still sporting skin tight neoprene waders, boots tied with lashed together laces from random tennis shoes, these were the fish bum- budget days. I recall having just recieved my tax return, so like any other American patriot, I needed to help out local business, more specifically, purchasing a new fly rod.

I remember telling the fly shop owner he must think I was crazy heading out in 18 degree weather to try my new prize out, but to my surprise, he said "No, not at all!" He sent me on my way with the bare essentials, a pat on the back,
and somehow the rest seemed to fall into place. It's like anything else in life, what seems intimidating or daunting, seems 2unenjoyable, the fishing that cold afternoon simply was anything but that. That day a friend and I had our best catch rate of our lives, it just seemed like the fish wanted to eat anything and everything.  And like most best experiences we have in fishing, when I close my eyes, I can see see those brown trout in that emerald green central PA limestone water.  DSC 6124flat

As years past, more pieces of the puzzle began to come together with regard to fishing during the winter months. Key elements are of course the usual, dress appropriately, rig for deep slow drifts, usually in more drab colored presentations, but most importantly look for that 'window' as my friends and I call it here in central PA, that is, the time of the day when trout tend to be most active. During the winter months, this often occurs during the suns peak angle, and
thus, stream temperature. There is a big misconception that fish will not eat if the water temperature is below 42F. It's my opinion, that fish catch rate seems to increase more precisely with the rate and speed  that the water warms
throughout the period of a day, not the actual ambient temperature. Pay close attention to the shallow tailouts and inlets to deeper pools, these areas can act as staging areas for very large trout to bask in the mid winter sun. Some of my largest winter trout have been taken in exceptionally shallow waters, on exceptionally sunny and cold days.

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If there is any key determining factor to lean on while winter fishing, attempt to determine your local waters best window of opportunity, once you accomplish that, I can guarantee you won't be disappointed.  

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Spring Time Sink-Tips & Super Buggers

I don't know about spring where you are, but here in northeast Pennsylvania it's been slow in coming. And even though nice weather is sure to come, we're expecting the early season to include a lot of high water, cold temperatures, and late hatches. That could all change, of course, but it's looking that way at the moment. We're still getting snow run-off from the mountain and our nights are very cold. With these conditions, it might be wise to make sure the sink-tip lines are in the gear bag and ready to go in case you run into high, cold, water this spring.  Spring fly fishing0020

A sink-tip will get the fly down deeper and faster than adding split shot to the leader of a floating line. When the water is deep and the current is moving along at a good pace, the leader and fly will often be swept through before it can get deep enough to reach the fish. If the fish are sitting on the bottom, as they often are in these conditions, you've got to get the fly down to where they are. It won't work if your flies are continually going over their heads. By using a sink-tip the fly line sinks and the leader is pulled down with it. For instance, a RIO 15' Type 3 WF6 Sink Tip has a sink rate of 3" per second. By using a weighted fly like a Super Bugger, the cast will sink quickly and the fly will get in front of the fish. The fish won't want to move quickly in cold water temperatures, so a slow, deliberate retrieve will often produce results. At the end of the retrieves, try wiggling the fly up to the surface before lifting the cast from the water to recast. You might be surprised to find that a fish has followed the fly in and as the fly is wiggling toward the surface, he will often take it here at the last second. If the water is off-color, you may otherwise pull the fly away from the fish that you can't see.

Casting sink tip lines is not difficult if you remember a couple things. Unlike a floating line which is on the surface, a sinking line is — well, sinking. This makes it difficult to recast unless you've stripped in most of the line. A trick that will make it a little easier is to roll cast the sink tip back up to the surface before recasting. Don't give it time to sink again, as soon as it turns over on the roll, pick it up to recast. (Shoot a little line to add to the amount of line you're recasting during the roll if you can.) You will also find that as the amount of sink-tip increases that you are casting, you'll want to slow down the speed of the casting stroke so allow the rod to load. A fairly fast action rod will help with this. You want to be able to feel the rod load but at the same time you want a rod with enough power to keep the line moving without collapsing. A very fast action rod might be good in a strong wind when you're chucking heavy flies, but in general spring conditions, a rod that allows you to feel the cast is best. Since you're not looking for delicate presentations, a shorter leader, maybe 5 or 6 feet, is often all you need. If you find that the leader is landing in a pile upon delivery, keep the rod tip up a couple inches higher on the last cast. This will give the leader time to unroll before landing on the water.

When the fish are sitting on the bottom, you have to go to the bottom to get them. Using a sink-tip line will help make the job easier.

Until next time.  -Cathy

super buggerWe also wanted to share with you that we are putting our Super Bugger Selection on sale for the start of fishing season.  For the next month we dropped the price to $24.95 plus shipping so you can replenish your streamer supply.  Click here to go to our store site to order. 


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Early Season Streamer Tactics

b2ap3_thumbnail_blog_0001_Brown-trout-streamer-0676.jpg  Last Thursday we were at the Philadelphia Angler's Club where Barry gave a presentation on Streamer Tactics for Big Fish. Our trout season opened here in northeastern Pennsylvania on Saturday and after several weeks of below average water levels, we got much needed rain and for the opener the stream was a tad high and off color. Perfect water for fishing streamers.

  With Barry's talk fresh in my mind, I thought it would be a good time to talk a little about fishing streamers. Streamers represent things that swim through the water that a trout would like to eat - skulpins, minnows, crayfish, leeches and so on. Things that make a meal. Streamers can be fished unweighted or weighted using lead eyes, cone heads, lead can be wrapped on the hook before tying the fly, split shot can be added to the leader, etc. Unless the water is very shallow, we prefer a streamer with weighted eyes most of the time so we can get an effective jig-like motion when retrieving.

  Most of the time we think the secret in in the retrieve and the depth at which the fly is being fished. If the water is cold and deep the fly has to be deep. If the fish are dormant on the bottom, a slower retrieve may be needed because the fish are not going to move far or move quickly. The fly has to be

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Tying Cathy Beck's Super Bugger

Sizes: 6 & 8
Colors: Tan, Black, Olive
Hook: Tiemco 3761
Thread: Tan, Black, Olive
Tail: Tan, Black or Olive Blood Feather overlay 6 strands Krystal Flash in corresponding color.
Rib: Hareline dyed grizzly hen body feathers, available from AA Outfitters,
800-443-8119 or Tan, black or olive.
Legs: Two rubber sili-legs. Root beer, black or olive.
Eyes: Lead eyes painted yellow and black. XS on size 8, small on size 6.
Head: Spiked dubbing figure-eighted around the eyes. Or, dubbing brushes if available.

The idea for Cathy’s Super Bugger was to design a fly that would create more underwater vibration or noise which would help fish locate and find the fly. The combination of a thick web hackle body and sili-legs pushes the water as the fly is retrieved, creating noise and vibration. Having the eyes tied ontop of the hook inverts the fly as it is being retrieved, gives it a more leech-like action in the water, and keeps it from fouling on the bottom.
Super Bugger Tying Steps:

1.Secure the painted eyes at the thorax positon of the hook by figure eighting with your tying thread. This is approximately a quarter of the hook shank back from the eye. Coat the thread windings with super glue and let dry.
2.Take the tying thread back to the rear of the hook shank.
3.Tie in the 6 strands of Krystal Flash. It should be the length of the hook shank.
4.Tie in the marabou tail, same length.
5.Tie in the first of the grizzly hen body feathers. Wind the hackle forward toward the hook eye, but keep it tight. The idea here is to build bulk with hackle. Once you've finished, tie in the next hackle in the same manner. It may take four hackles to complete the hackle body.
6.Tie in the two silli legs by figure eighting them with thread around the hook eye. They should be sticking out from the sides and the length of the leg should be the same on each side.
7.Figure eight the eye with a spiked dubbing to create a head.
8.Whip finish and the fly is done.


Marabou shorts (or blood feathers) work best and in the end are more efficient than buying a plume.

Coat your painted lead eyes with Sally Hansen's Hard As Nails. They will hold up better. (In the cosmetic section of your pharmacy).

Remember to open up your casting loop with any lead-eye flies. This used to be called chuck and duck fishing. Also, with a tight loop the fly could potentially hit the rod blank and break it. If you're a Sage customer, this means your Z-Axis is going to be better than your TCX.

Vary your retrieve speeds and remember to set the hook with your line hand and not the rod tip. If you miss the fish the fly will still be in the game and the fish may take again.

Black works best in off-color water. Tan is the perfect color for any stream or river that has a crayfish population.
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